Chris Petersen

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New Washington head coach Jimmy Lake getting five-year contract

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After the surprising news at Washington with the sudden stepping down of Chris Petersen, the Huskies are going all-in on his successor. Jimmy Lake, who is taking on the role of head coach after serving as defensive coordinator, is watching the ink dry on a brand new five-year contract, as reported by Steve Berkowitz of USA Today (via Twitter).

Some additional contract details for Lake, again via Berkowitz’s Twitter feed…

Petersen had been making $4.625 million for the 2019 season. According to a database of coaching salaries compiled by USA Today, the $3 million salary for Lake would rank him sixth in the Pac-12 in head coaching salaries, barring any potential contract changes to come. David Shaw of Stanford currently has the most lucrative contract in the Pac-12 at $4.613 million. Utah’s Kyle Whittingham is the second-highest-paid coach in the Pac-12 (although this season suggests that it could be about to be modified) with $4 million.

Mike Leach of Washington State, Chip Kelly of UCLA, and Clay Helton of USC are the only other coaches in the Pac-12 with a higher-paying contract than Luke at this point in time. For the sake of comparison, Colorado’s first-time head coach Mel Tucker is due $2.4 million this season.

Two Washington defensive players medically retire from football

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Washington head coach Chris Petersen announced the retirement of two Husky football players on Thursday. Defensive back Austin Joyner and defensive lineman Jared Pulu are each retiring from playing football due to medical concerns. According to The Seattle Times, Joyner is retiring due to a history of concussions and Pulu is stepping aside due to a kidney medical condition.

Joyner has not appeared in either of Washington’s last two games and he has been listed as a primary backup to sophomore Byron Murphy this season. In four games this season, Joyner has recorded five tackles, including one tackle for a loss.

Guys get concussions and you go,” Petersen said, according to The Seattle Times, when reflecting on the impact of head injuries and the reaction to them today compared to the past. “You heal up and you go. But I think everybody is just on top of this, and it’s, ‘How many has he had? How serious is this?’” And everybody is hypersensitive to this, which I think is a good thing.”

Pulu has not played for Washington this season but did appear in 10 games last year. Both players will remain a part of the team in a non-playing capacity moving forward, according to Petersen.

Kyle Whittingham attempts to defend bizarre timeout decision that doomed Utes vs. Washington

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If you went to bed a little early on Saturday night then the chances are pretty good you missed one of the more baffling coaching decisions of the season. With Washington and Utah tied at 30-30 after the Huskies battled back in the second half, Washington received the football with under a minute to play. Washington seemed to be playing for overtime with a short run to keep the clock rolling when Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham called a timeout. This gave Washington head coach Chris Petersen a chance to change the mindset on his sideline and go for the win before overtime, and it led to a game-winning field goal as time expired.

Whittingham essentially gave Washington a chance to win the Huskies had no intention of playing for in regulation, and it may end up costing Utah a spot in a postseason bowl game. After the game, Whittingham defended his decision-making by saying he was attempting to be aggressive, suggesting that if Washington really was playing for overtime, they would have taken a knee.

“You’d have to ask Chris that. But if they were not being aggressive they would have taken a knee,” Whittingham explained. “What’s the point in running a play if they’re not going to try to at least maneuver into field goal range. So we called timeout, had them in decent field position, second and eight or second and nine, and one incomplete pass and another timeout if they decide to run the ball. So it was a long shot, but we’re just trying to win and it obviously didn’t work out.

Here’s the play where Utah called the timeout. It sure seemed as though Washington had no real intention of playing for a field goal unless Utah made a huge mistake, which as it turned out they did,

Whittingham had no legitimate reason to call for the timeout and admitted it was a decision he would take back given the hindsight of knowing how the game would eventually end.

“In hindsight, I probably wouldn’t have called the timeout,” Whittingham said. “But at the time, we were just trying to be aggressive and get the ball back to a guy who has about a sixty-yard range field goal wise.”

Petersen said after the game they were merely trying to run Myles Gaskin to see if there would be a crack or a big play. That never developed, but the timeout changed the situation for Washington. Petersen, not one to go out and trash an opposing coach over a questionable decision that benefits him, said he understood what Whittingham was trying to do.

“We wanted to run the ball and see if we could pop through with Myles and maybe get a 10-yard run,” Petersen said. “I get what Kyle was trying to do. You have to play aggressive in these situations.”

No, you do not.

There is a time to play with aggression, but this was not the time. Washington was settling on playing overtime, and Whittingham overthought the situation and got burned by it.

Saban, Meyer, Harbaugh, Swinney and more among 19 Dodd Trophy watch list candidates

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When you really think about it, a watch list for a college football award is nothing more than a way to keep public relations staffers in college football programs busy this summer. There’s nothing wrong with that, and it is nice to have a number of key players for the upcoming season highlighted whenever possible (unless you are a Big Ten team going to Big Ten media days). But a watch list is generally pretty pointles sin the long run for most awards. This is especially true for a watch list of college football coaches.

The Dodd Trophy watch list was released today with a list of 19 coaches from many of the top programs around the country. Yep, a watch list for head coaches. Silly, right? It really is the easiest watch list to put together.

The award watch list, compiled by the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, includes four coaches from the ACC, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC, two coaches from the Big 12 and one from the American Athletic Conference. You know all of the names, like national championship coaches Nick Saban, Urban Meyer, and Dabo Swinney; household names like Jim Harbaugh, Mark Richt, Bill Snyder, and Chris Petersen; and conference championship coaches like David Shaw, James Franklin.

Some notable names not on the list? How about Jimbo Fisher of Florida State? Fisher has a playoff contender in Tallahassee and is the ACC favorite. He also has a national championship ring. Not having Fisher on a preseason watch list for top coaches seems like a bad oversight. Not having new Big 12 coaches Tom Herman (Texas) and Lincoln Riley (Oklahoma) also feels like a swing and a miss if pulling together a list of potential coach of the year candidates. If we are not going to just list all 130 head coaches in FBS, it seems silly to have such a weird collection of watch list candidates when Butch Jones is on the list.

Five coaches on the watch list are former winners of the Dodd Trophy; Snyder, Petersen, Swinney, Saban, and Paul Johnson. Paul Chryst, Ken Niumatalolo, and Petersen were finalists for the award last season as well.

2017 Dodd Trophy Watch List

  • Paul Chryst, Wisconsin
  • James Franklin, Penn State
  • Justin Fuente, Virginia Tech
  • Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State
  • Jim Harbaugh, Michigan
  • Clay Helton, USC
  • Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech
  • Butch Jones, Tennessee
  • Gus Malzahn, Auburn
  • Jim McElwain, Florida
  • Urban Meyer, Ohio State
  • Ken Niumatalolo, Navy
  • Chris Petersen, Washington
  • Mark Richt, Miami
  • Nick Saban, Alabama
  • David Shaw, Stanford
  • Bill Snyder, Kansas State
  • Dabo Swinney, Clemson
  • Kyle Whittingham, Utah

Washington plugs vacancy on staff with Boise State o-line coach Scott Huff

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A day after losing offensive line coach Chris Strausser to a job in the NFL, the defending Pac-12 champion Washington Huskies have managed to fill the void with a former Chris Petersen assistant. Scott Huff has been hired to be Washington’s new offensive line coach.

Huff previously coached under Petersen at Boise State for eight years. Huff remained at Boise State, his alma mater, once Petersen was hired by Washington. Huff was one of two coaches who opted to stay behind and was retained by Boise State to continue coaching the Broncos during the coaching change. Huff also played for Petersen for two seasons at Boise State and started 40 games for the Broncos between 1999 and 2002. Petersen was Boise State’s offensive coordinator at the time.

“I’ve known Scott as a player and as a coach for a long time. He was one of my first hires as a newly-appointed head coach,” Petersen said in a released statement. “We’re just thrilled to have him join us here.”

“We want to wish Coach Huff the best of luck as he makes this move to Washington,” Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said in a statement, according to The Idaho Press-Tribune. “There are few that have been as loyal to the Boise State program as Scott Huff, both as a player and coach. Beyond his coaching acumen, his ability to build relationships with his players and develop them on and off the field is what makes him special.”

The sudden coaching change on the staff at Boise State comes just days before the Broncos open up spring football practices. Unless Harsin has an option waiting to be hired immediately, it is liekly the Broncos will shuffle responsibilities internally to fill the staff, at least for now.